Starting a new role amidst the pandemic?
There are no -end of articles offering an abundance of advice for making a good impression on your first day of your new role (we’ve Googled most of them). However, what if there was an unforeseen global pandemic forcing most people to work from home and it just so happens, it falls on exactly the same time you are due to start a new job? We bet there aren’t many articles out there offering advice on how you can still make an excellent first impression if your first day involves getting out of bed and heading to your ‘temporary home office’.
So, if the first week in your new role involves working remotely, here are some ways that we think will help you do just that.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Please, and we couldn’t stress this enough, put communication at the top of your priority list!
When you start a new role, communication with your manager and colleagues etc usually comes naturally and it is not something you give a lot of thought to. However, when you’re working from home, it’s a different ball game and communication will be crucial.
Keep in constant communication with your line manager and don’t be afraid to ask questions , request company literature and discuss any important issues. If your line manager doesn’t take the initiative to do this, ask them how they and other colleagues are structuring their time working from home and find out if the company has any specific expectations of the staff who are working remotely.
Be Punctual and focus on time management
Even though there is a degree of flexibility when you work remotely, you can still make a good impression by responding quickly when you are contacted by your manager or colleagues, meet any deadlines you are given on time or earlier if possible and show up for video or telephone conferences on time.
It can be easy to get distracted and procrastinate when you work remotely so time management will be key if it is something you are not used to. Using time management apps like Rescue Time and Forest can help you to stay on track with your tasks and not feel guilty by the end of the day for not managing your time properly.
Create a good working environment
If, like many of us, you have had to move the furniture around to fit in a makeshift desk by the living room window or you’ve taken up refuge in the spare bedroom with dim lighting amongst the unused exercise bike and copious amounts of books you’ve wondered why you never got rid of, then we feel your pain. However, we found this FastCompany article on ‘how to create a home office you’ll actually want to work in’ to be pretty insightful so we’ve put the link for it here: https://www.fastcompany.com/3023303/10-quick-tips-to-bring-your-home-office-to-another-level you can thank us later.
Up-Skill using available company or online resources
Many people are finding ways to utilise the time they are spending at home by learning a new skill.
If your ‘work from home’ schedule in your new role allows you some spare time during the day, why not use the time to up-skill? It will definitely show your new employer your determination to be the best you can be in your role. There a number of free online courses you can take and we recommend Coursera and Udemy as a good place to find free programmes and short courses related to any industry.
You could also speak to your company to see if they can provide you with any resources or advice for how you can improve your skills. Some companies even offer online training programmes to their employees so it will be worth asking your line manager about this.
Get to know your team members
Although it might seem impossible to do a ‘meet the team’ exercise in your new role and it is always more appropriate to meet your colleagues in person to get to know them, it is still a good idea to make an effort to reach out and introduce yourself, even from your remote office.
If your manager hasn’t already found a way to introduce you to your new colleagues, you could reach out to them by email or whichever medium the company has suggested for internal communication or you could connect with them via social media (LinkedIn would be the most professional way to do this) . This will also show initiative to your new employer and we are certain your new colleagues will appreciate it. If you want to go one step further and consider yourself an extrovert, you could even suggest holding a video conference session with the team to introduce yourself in a more personal way.
But.. what about the kids?
Honestly, there’s no easy way to say this. Working from home with children around is probably going to be STRESSFUL. The important thing to remember is that pretty much anyone you speak to will sympathise and understand that the odd background noise or zoom call disruption is inevitable so don’t let it worry you too much- remember that BBC interview where Professor James Kelly was interrupted by his kids with perfect timing at the amusement of millions of viewers? If you haven’t and want a giggle check it out here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh4f9AYRCZY
One thing to remember is that you are not the only one in your situation. There will many people just like you starting a new position in challenging times so don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Take each day as it comes, take on board any advice you receive from your line manager and you’ll be fine.
Good luck in your new role and stay positive!